Saturday, December 8, 2012

Marsh Wren


                                           I could hear him singing in the reeds before I saw him. Marsh Wrens sing a lot.

Actually, I had to wait a long time for him to come out of the reeds.  He was singing to be heard and not necessarily hiding in the reeds of the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Mexico.  Cattail reeds can be very dense…doesn’t take a lot of them the hide a small bird.

Marsh Wrens seem to enjoy singing…males sing day and night…females sing, too.  It’s a pleasant chatter…repetitive, bright, but I’m no music critic.  They sing mostly to claim territory and hold onto it. 

A male will build several domed nests in his territory. The nests have two side openings.  A female will choose a nest and close one opening. Males may have another female at the same time nesting in his territory.  Very territorial, he may puncture eggs of other birds nesting too close.

Breeding up north in summer and wintering down south, they need open water with cattails and insects to keep singing.